Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fueling your engine

In order for us to succeed at our goals we must have three things: the goal its self, a willingness to start and the persistence to keep going when the going gets tough. The goal gives us an idea of where we are headed, in our journey it is the map (at least in this analogy). We can think of the willingness to start as the key to the car. Persistence is the engine; it is the thing that keeps us moving towards the goal.

So what fuels your engine? Here are a few to choose from, some are good everyday fuels and others are great additives to help clean the engine or give you an added burst of power.


Willpower is the main fuel of the engine of persistence. It comes from within us and when drawn upon in a moment of weakness it helps us keep going.

Not every goal we have is motivated by our desire for the outcome, take for example finishing a project at work. We may not want to do it still needs to get done. Here we fuel our persistence engine with expectations others. While this fuel can produce results it should not be used exclusively because when we start doing things only based on the expectations of others we lose sight of what we want.

Survival can also be a fuel, we keep going to that job we hate to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. This is a fuel of last resort; it will run the engine but can damage it. Doing things just to survive can leave us feeling hallow and remove the joy from the rest of our lives. The more we run on survival the harder it becomes to switch back to willpower.


I have talked about the power of Inspiration before in regards to helping us build momentum and stimulate persistence. When we see a new way to deal with a problem it reenergize us. This can be the boost we need to get to the end of our journey or the shove needed if we have become mired along the side of the road.

Another great additive is Competition. This may very well be the nitrous oxide top fuel funny car additive of the bunch. It burns hot, fast and powerful but if we don't know how to control it can slam us in to a brick wall at 100 mph. Competition must be handled in a friendly manner. If we place our ego in the competition our confidence and self-esteem can be damaged by loosing. The thought here should be "I'm going to try to beat his score" not "I am worthless if I do not do better than that jerk". When it is used correctly however competition can drive us to heights we never thought we would reach on our own.

Faith can also be a powerful additive. Where competition gives the power boost and inspiration cleans the engine faith raises the performance level of the fuel your using. Faith lets us function with the knowledge that what is happening, both setbacks and windfalls are there for a reason. By seeing the trials of reach our goal as hardships and tests rather than obstacles faith allows us to approach the problem from an understanding that it can be overcome. And when the going is easy faith lets us know that what we are doing is right, that the road we are on is the proper one.

Not all problems require the same combination of fuels and additives, sometimes willpower alone is enough, but it is good to know what is driving your engine. Maybe you have become to reliant on one fuel or overuse an additive. When we get stuck in the journey to reach our goals sometimes it is helpful to know which fuel we are using and which additive might get us moving again.


Post a Comment